Prioritising the education objective

Last Updated 18 September 2013, 13:50 IST

Value education should become an essential part of the educational system, whereby we give our children ample chance to pick up desired values for life, reckons JAYASREE N.

More than any other period in history, the previous decade witnessed a number of changes and modifications with far reaching consequences in the field of education, especially secondary education in India. Efforts in this direction had commenced earlier in all the corners and finally April 1, 2010 dawned more colorfully with a rare boon, the Right to Education.

Anybody who considers the importance of quality education will agree that the country should drag herself from the pit of rote learning which can produce only robots without feelings or emotions. The absence of understanding resulted from the conventional methods followed in our schools all these years has generated a vacuum, the conquering of which has posed a great challenge before our lives.

Restructuring the pattern

How to restructure the pattern of education is to be decided after prioritising the objectives of education. In historic times, the sole aim of education was to assimilate knowledge and thereby become an effective and successful individual. There are many stories about the way in which influential people were educated in our country during the ancient period.
The gurukula system prevailed and the aspiring kings, rulers and lords went to a well accepted guru’s residence and stayed there for a long period learning the Vedas, the Upanishads and even martial arts - the usual subjects required for a prospective ruler. When this was the condition of the influential people, how was it for the common man? The presence of a Kuchela in the company of Sri Krishna in the gurukula prompts us to believe that economical status was not a criterion for selection of the students. The story of Ekalavya reiterates this assumption. Thus, the main objective of education during ancient times was purely social with an element of self actualisation and this was not connected with monetary status directly or indirectly. Education at that time intended to mould a successful king or even a wise courtier and the horizons were rather restricted with limited resources and requirements.

EQ - a score ignored

 In the present set up, there is no other motive than financial gain for education. Nobody even thinks about being a good, knowledgeable and effective individual while engaged in the process of learning, but the only mantra is money, that too easy money.  Teachers too forget this factor easily (or knowingly?) and urge students to learn as much as possible like parrots and get more mark by hook or crook. Without knowing what they are doing, in a purely mechanical way, students solve extremely difficult problems within a fraction of seconds and rank top in the entrance examinations which ensure highly fetching positions in future. Finally they evolve as eligible youngsters and enter that great institution of marriage and family life. Then they begin to taste the bitterness of failure hither to unknown, in their personal life mainly because of a poor emotional quotient, a score that was ignored completely during their formative years of schooling.  The present state of affairs has become so alarming that one begins to doubt whether the human race has undergone a mutation in the emotional or spiritual level. Our living rooms these days are reverberated with the unheard sobbing of innocent girls heinously attacked by monsters in the guise of men or even young boys. They do not spare even infants. A father raping his daughter and a mother selling her female child for a few pieces of silver –where lies the problem?

It is very easy to blame the government or even the demographic conditions of our country. Some others say that lack of proper punishment is the reason behind the uncontrolled breeding of crime here. But the real remedy should come from the class rooms, not from the congested cells of the prison.
Value based education

The sole aim of education should be to make one a good human being with a well defined value system. Obviously, it is neither his/her Mathematics nor Biology that makes one a real human being, but a heart that empathises with another being, who suffers and the willingness to contribute his/her part to alleviate that suffering.  But training in this line is not found in our education pattern anywhere.

It is observed that in almost all scholastic subjects, the quantum to be mastered by students in India at the school level is too large, when compared to the same in western countries. The average child finds it difficult to master these concepts within the limited time and finally s/he is mastered by tensions of cut throat competition and elimination. This pathetic condition is to be changed because the majority belongs to this group while the minority of the gifted children cope up with the situation easily and go ahead smoothly without any stress. The system should strive hard to cater the needs of the majority first. The first step we should try is to relieve our students from uncontrollable stress and give them a little time to relax and realize themselves. Then let them be sensitized to be more value oriented.

Value education should not be minimized to a five mark value based question in the question paper. Instead the curriculum is to be revolutionized so that we give our children ample chance to pick up desired values at various stages of their growth. Value education should become an integral part of the set of scholastic subjects. It should not be underestimated as a mere co-scholastic item and be introduced as an additional work to the already overburdened teachers, who handle it out of compulsion.

Many of the public schools these days exploit the service of a professional counselor to handle the emotional problems of the students. In similar lines another post may be created for this important aspect, or at least the range of the existing counselor’s service may be widened suitably keeping this objective under consideration.

Murderers are not born, they are made. We should find out what made a father rape his own daughter, and we have to treat the malady keeping in mind the reasons, not the symptoms.

For symptomatic treatment, prisons will do. But the specific treatment for the reasons should start in our classrooms. The destiny of a nation is shaped in her classrooms and teachers are the masters of ceremony.

(Published 18 September 2013, 13:50 IST)

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